Twelve

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Should I hold my breath?

The thought of holding my breath was a little too predictive of me. I decided against the choice, and instead looked to Jae-won in hopes he will take the lead. My nervousness was written clearly on my face.

He smiled at me, instead. "Whatever you do, don't hold in air." Gently, he laid a warm hand onto my cheek as he stepped closer. "Just breath normally."

I bit my lip as I watched him. I finally took notice of his groomed black hair that was up instead of his usual down-style. My eyes wouldn't leave him as he stared me down, towering over me in his sharp black suit. I didn't want to look away and forget what I was suppose to do.

"Turn your cheek towards the priest so it will seem like we are kissing. I'm going to kiss the corner of your mouth," Jae whispered quickly as he took another step.

Heh?

My eyebrows furrowed as I soaked in the information. Right as he kissed the side of my mouth, my mind ran blank and I turned. It was like I didn't want my wedding kiss to be remembered by a small peck on the side-I purposefully made a twenty two year old kiss me.

My lips immediately connected to his, though Jae was a tad surprised. He didn't move away, but his head titled from shock, not expecting my sudden movement. Although it was a light kiss, my heart was racing and my cheeks burned crimson red.

The crowd clapped. "What was that?" Jae whispered with a short laugh. He grabbed my hand within his, walking me down the aisle towards the table our parents were to sit.

"You're hot," I replied unintentionally, but didn't bother to correct myself. "Anyways, let's go bow to some people and catch some berries."

Jae-won looked down to me with wide eyes. "What has gotten into you?" With a sharp breath, he attempted to clear his mind.

Bo-mi stood up from her seat and she rushed around towards the table as well. Immediately, she grabbed the folded clothes from the chairs and handed them to us. "Go change into the hanbok. I'll explain to the guests what is happening."

So we did. We each grabbed the clothing and listened as the MC informed the guests that we were starting an old Korean tradition that would allow us to respect our parents. Later, we would be catching jujubes and chestnuts to count how many children we shall have.

None. Please, don't let me catch anyway.

I was a bit thankful that I was terrible at catching things, whether it be a football or chestnuts, but I felt guilt for wishing such unlucky fate on Jae's family. Because there was more family here from on his side, they would be expecting a good wife to bear many children.

I was not her.

I quickly slid out of my wedding dress and into the red wedding hanbok. The makeup artist that arrived late had helped me adjust the outfit before sitting me down and fixing my face.

The hairstylist was also in the room, preparing to redo my hair into a style that I was not accustomed to. I frowned at the large sticks within her hands. "Are those for my hair?"

"Yup! Aren't they pretty?" She untied my bun.

My smile was thin as I nodded. "Y-yes. Pretty." I watched her tie back my hair again and add a silk black veil. Immediately she jabbed two sticks into my hair and let the signs stick out from each side. The makeup girl applied red lipstick onto my lips before backing away.

"Okay, let's get this on your head and you can go."

I stared at the box-like head band. "What even is that?" I realized I should have studied Korean weddings further, as everything seemed to confuse me.

The girls didn't reply to me. They instead, stood me to my feet and pushed me out into the wedding hall. I scampered over my dress as I quickened my pace towards Jae-won, who waited for me at the end.

"Let's go. The guests are waiting." Jae wrapped his hand around mine, jogging out of the hallway and into the main room. We both made our way to the table our parents patiently sat.

Lucky for us, the people were occupied with food. "Okay, ladies and gentlemen. Please see the bride and groom as they greet their parents," Bo-mi spoke nicely into the microphone. She translated it to Korean, exciting the guest as they hurriedly made their ways over to us.

We first, bowed to my parents. I connected my hands at the tip of my fingers, lowering my head and lifting my hands above. My mind was too focused to notice they way Jae-won bowed, so I just took my time getting onto my knees and getting back up.

Switching over, we repeated the same steps to his parents. Just as I was to sit down before them, Jae grabbed my arm and harshly whispered, "Bow to the guests."

"Huh?" I turned around to see them expectantly staring at me. I breathed a light laugh as I quickly did the same to family members. Even to the people I have never met. "Okay, I'm done."

We sat. I smiled up at Jae's parents, knowing if I held in my pain a bit longer, it will end very soon. "Please allow us to be blessed," I echoed my husband.

Okay. The fun part.

My husband grabbed one side of the red cloth, and I the other. We watched as the Bak family grabbed a handful of jujubes and chestnuts each, then tossed it our way.

"Oh! They caught them all!" Mother gasped happpily. She nudged my father to look, but he became stubborn and only glanced.

I looked down. "All?"

Jae smirked at my reaction. "I'm a good catcher."

My lip curled up as I glared at him. "But you suck at English." I slouched into my spot on the red pillows. "Finally, it's over," I sighed heavily.

Jae-won glanced at me before taking my hand. "It wouldn't be so tiring if we had done the pyebaek ceremony a few days after the wedding."

I nodded. "Yes, but because of our circumstances, we are doing it all today."

After I finished my sentence, I was startled by a large yank on my arm. It forced me to turn, making me look directly at my new husband. "What are you-?" His lips cut me off as he pushed them onto my own.

"Kissing my beautiful wife," he replied simply before standing to his feet. "Can't wait for our honeymoon."

-----

Pyebaek is a Korean tradition where the bride and groom bow to their parents and sometimes guests. The bride proceeds to give the groom's family Korean dates to which they throw back as to symbolize how many children the bride and groom will have.

Because of this scenario, only a few things were changed. It is usually held several days after the wedding.

가슴은 뛰고 있어
여전히 널 보고 있어
자꾸만 숨이 막혀서

아직은 멀리에서
너를 지켜보고 싶어
내가 또 왜 이러는지

My heart is racing
I'm still looking at you
Because I keep running out of breath

I'm still watching over you
From far away
Why am I being like this?

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